Apple has been granted a patent for an additional side connector slot for the iPad. This is not a completely new idea, though it is has not been used yet for shipping products. Last year, Apple filed for a similar feature at the Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union.
Both iPad 1 and iPad 2 incorporate a 30-pin connector pin placed on the bottom of the device which allows for one orientation dock. A two port device would bring an extra configuration.
The second port could allow the iDevice to work with additional accessories that previously needed I/O. So far, Apple has managed to overcome this limitation by using add-ons like the Digital AV Adapter.
The Digital AV Adapter brings an extra dock port so that users can connect the device to a monitor and continue to charge.
The new design patent is attributed among others to CEO Steve Jobs and design chief Jonathan Ive.
Besides the new iPad design, Apple has also obtained fifteen other patents, for example iDVD – a DVD authoring software – Cover Flow art viewing and the virtual keyboard. The latter could potentially impact the smartphone and touch screen device market.
It is worth mentioning that not all the new patents are necessarily incorporated into shipping products.